A Dublin man has been found not guilty of raping a college student he met on Tinder. The 35 year old had denied the charge which was alleged to have happened at Kilmashogue Lane in the Dublin Mountains in September 2014. After the verdict was read out, the man responded by pressing his hands together in a praying gesture and saying: “Thank you, thank you so much”. His dad and a female cousin ran over to hug him. The woman at the centre of the case began sobbing when she heard the verdict and was comforted by family members at the back of the courtroom.
After the jury left the room, the accused, who can't be identified, shouted towards gardai 'stitch up scumbag, stitch up c***, stitch up b*******'. He added: 'I'll get you again.'
During the short trial, the court heard, the man and woman met on Tinder in September 2014 and arranged to go on a date a few days later. They went for a drive and got take away coffees and ice-cream before heading towards the Dublin Mountains. The woman said she became nervous when the man brought her up an unlit lane in an isolated area. She said he told her ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to abandon you in the mountains.’ She described how she told the accused she didn’t want a one night stand after they had an intense kiss. She said he told her to get ‘the f*** out of the car.’ She said she tried to ring her friend but she had no phone signal. She said the accused came back and told her to get back in the car. She said she felt like she had no choice as she didn’t know where she was and he seemed calmer. She said the accused drove further up the road and stopped the car where he raped her. She said she was terrified and she stopped resisting. He dropped her home and later sent her a Whats App with a smiley face.
But the accused’s account of what happened that night was different. He told gardai the sex was consensual. He told officers: ‘I did no harm to that girl. I guarantee there’s no mark on that girl.’ He added: ‘At no stage did I rape that girl. As much as you've tried to intimidate me. I will not change.’
His barrister Michael Bowman told the jury the woman had gone on Tinder and had spoken to six men in the 36 hours after the alleged rape. He also said the woman had added the accused’s name to a ‘previous sexual partners’ list on her phone. He said that the fact that the woman had gone to a GP and not a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit was more consistent with needing to get a morning after pill than with rape.
In his charge to the jury Mr Justice Paul Butler said what happened in the car that night was down to one person’s word against other. The jury of six men and six women reached their verdict after deliberating for 4 hours and 13 minutes.